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Numerous Articles, Numerous Topics - Dec 29, 2003

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December 29, 2003

Detroit Free Press

Outcry ebbs over deer killings at parks

Detroit News

Trail upgrades in the works

Allies become Granholm critics http://www.detnews.com/2003/editorial/0312/28/a20-19729.htm

DNR center sorts tree seeds

Bovine tests near end http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0312/26/d07w-18672.htm

Science aims at ash borers http://www.detnews.com/2003/business/0312/28/b10-19904.htm

Booth Newspapers

Environmentalists mostly pleased with progress

Bob Gwizdz: Late goose season prospects slimmer than in recent years

Bob Gwizdz Column: Granholm's first year has a few bright spots, a few disappointments

Watch it: DNR reminds snowmobilers to use caution http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/fljournal/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1072358793176340.xml

Grooming program gets OK

Cooperation needed on baiting issue

Local scouts testing hunting badge of merit http://www.mlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1072523845325030.xml?grpress?SPOU

De Leo: Van Buren committed to trail http://www.mlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1072387201231920.xml?kzgazette?NEVB

Coyotes encroach suburbs, eat pets http://www.mlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-3/107219617222440.xml?muchronicle?NEM

Oakland Press
Members of Michigan's Congressional delegation are trying to obtain $42 million in federal funds to help combat the emerald ash borer. http://www.theoaklandpress.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10709532&BRD=982&PAG=461&dept_id=129840&rfi=8

Monroe Evening News

2003: Year in review http://www.monroenews.com/articles/2003/12/27/news/news03.txt

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Waterways Trust Fund would promote access

Traverse City: TART grooming to rely on donations

Bovine TB testing effort wrapping up

Snowmobile majority must lead crackdown

CHEBOYGAN: Marina gives access to river

Sault Ste Marie Evening News

Funding restored for local cross-country ski trails
Cross country skiing opportunities have been restored for those who enjoy two Eastern Upper Peninsula trails thanks to a grant provided to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
"We operated on a grant and we were told that was it," explained Unit Fire and Recreation Supervisor John Krzycki of the potential closure of the Algonquin Ski Trail here in Sault Ste. Marie and Pine Bowl in Kinross. "All of a sudden, our grant came back last Friday."
Krzycki said he believes the state grant to operate the cross country ski trails came as a direct result of public outcry over the potential closure.
"I give a lot of credit to the (Sault Area) Chamber of Commerce and the (Sault Ste. Marie) City Commission," he said.
Krzycki speculated Upper Peninsula residents, from Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette particularly, applied enough political pressure down in Lansing to pry loose the necessary grant money for the various trail systems. Most of the costs relate to the actual grooming as the DNR already has in its possession the necessary equipment to maintain the trails.
With funds suddenly available, Krzycki was able to get both the Algonquin and Pine Bowl parking lots plowed in preparation for trail usage. The Algonquin Trails, nearly nine miles in five separate loops, have already been groomed for use, while work on the six or so miles of Pine Bowl trails is underway.
"I think the DNR has made a long-term commitment to provide winter recreational opportunities here in Sault Ste. Marie," said City Manager Spencer Nebel early today. "I'm certainly pleased to see they are continuing to carry out that commitment."
Nebel said his office was notified on Friday that funds would be restored without any official explanation.
The Sault Ste. Marie City Commission learned of the potential closure at its Dec. 15 session and had been exploring the possibility of grooming the ski trails at Algonquin with its own equipment before word of the grant restoration was announced. Acting City Manager Lori Clarke had served as the pointman for the city's effort, but she deflected any credit for her achievements when contacted early this morning.
"I think it was just a coincidence," said Clarke, "The DNR had already received several other complaints."
The Algonquin Ski Area has been maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural resources since the late 1980s, according to Krzycki. The Pine Bowl Ski Area has been in operation even longer

Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

Safe sledding
With the state's first snowmobile fatality of winter in Houghton County, local snowmobile enthusiasts and law enforcement officials hope improvements to the trail and driver caution will keep tragedy at bay for the remainder of the season.
"They've been working hard to make a good trail system up here and if you have a good trail system, you usually have a safe season," said Houghton County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Raffaelli, the department's snowmobile officer. "Riders have had nothing but great things to say about the system."
The Keweenaw Tourism Council paid $135,000 this summer to repair trails in Keweenaw and Houghton counties, according to trail director Don Kauppi. He adds the council is grooming the trails more frequently this year.
"Hopefully (snowmobilers) will notice the added grooming," Kauppi said. "Night grooming especially will make a big difference in trail conditions."
Raffaelli said the additional grooming and repairs are crucial to safe sledding.
"If the groomers aren't out, you're going to have bad trail system," he said. "If the conditions are bumpy, it'll increase the risk of losing control of your sled."
But, he cautioned, trail improvements cannot guarantee driver safety. The recent death of a Calumet High School student is evidence enough.
Daven Dube, 17, was killed Dec. 12 when the snowmobile he was driving collided with a pole near Kearsarge. It was the first fatal accident in Michigan this winter.
Another snowmobile fatality occurred Thursday in Newberry, Luce County. Sarah Lynn Abram, 23, of Milwaukee was killed when the snowmobile she was driving hit a pole.
Excessive speed was named a contributing factor in both accidents, and law enforcement officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources it is the most common cause of all snowmobile deaths.
"Excessive speed is evident in almost all our fatalities," said Lt. Thomas Courchaine of the DNR's law enforcement office in Crystal Falls. Speed was listed as the primary hazard in 33 of the state's 46 fatal snowmobile accidents for last winter.
Neil Marietta Jr., manager of Keweenaw Motor Sports and former snowmobile racer, said speed itself is less of a problem than poor driving.
"Speed doesn't scare me as long as the driver is in control of environment," he said. "If you can see far enough and there's no one around, fine. There at Copper Harbor, it's flat out and long, you can really haul the mail. But then you have people not staying on their own side of the trail on winding corners or outdriving their headlights. Then speed is a problem."
But Marietta added there is no reason for most drivers to surpass 55 mph.
Snowmobiles are capable of much higher speeds, the fastest models reaching 130 mph. Marietta said drivers should consider the limits of their skills before the limits of their machines.
Ability is still no match for poor visibility - a hazard many drivers do not notice until it is too late, said Lt. Creig Grey, of the DNR's law enforcement headquarters in Lansing.
"Every year there are some accidents, fatals, with visibility at almost zero," Grey said. "With a couple fresh inches of powder snow, even when visibility's up, the powder is kicked into the air by other sleds. It's real easy to overdrive - you can't see who's coming at you until you're right on top of them."
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